City Council approves filing of cross-complaint against San Diego Mayor Bob Filner

SAN DIEGO - The City Council Tuesday unanimously authorized the filing of a cross-complaint against Bob Filner, a move designed to protect municipal coffers in connection with a sexual harassment lawsuit against the city and San Diego's embattled mayor.

The decision was made in a closed-session meeting. The mayor normally chairs such meetings, but does not have a vote.

The cross-complaint involves the case of former mayoral Communications Director Irene McCormack Jackson, who hired high-profile Los Angeles lawyer Gloria Allred and sued Filner and the city last week.

"The city of San Diego has sued the mayor with unanimous City Council approval," City Attorney Jan Goldsmith said. "This is part of due process. If Bob Filner engaged in unlawful conduct and the city is held liable, he will have to reimburse us every penny the city pays and its attorney fees."

McCormack Jackson is one of seven women who have accused the mayor of unwanted sexual advances.

A private lawyer hired by the mayor, Harvey Berger, has filed a request for the City Council to pay for Filner's defense.

Public funding for outside counsel for city employees is not an unusual step when a worker is sued over something within the scope of his job.

But Goldsmith contends sexual harassment is not considered to be within that scope.

The City Council will take up the question of funding Filner's defense at a closed-session meeting scheduled for 5:30 p.m.

The City Attorney's Office has been investigating McCormack Jackson's claims, and has scheduled a deposition with the mayor for Aug. 9. However, Filner is scheduled to begin two weeks of behavioral therapy on Monday.

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